The numbers say it all. Businesses are not doing enough in terms of crime prevention. For starters, CNBC says workplace crime costs U.S. companies $50 billion per year. It turns out that one-third of businesses fail because of workplace theft. Employee theft is also a problem as it costs U.S. businesses an average of $1.13 million per year.
And this barely scratches the surface of crimes against businesses.
An Insureon survey reports that burglary or theft has affected 9 percent of small businesses. Loss Prevention Magazine says cargo theft is a $15- to 30-billion-dollar problem in the U.S. The problem goes beyond U.S. borders with cargo theft in Canada reaching $27 million in 2018.
Moreover, office theft has grown. The FBI reports thieves stole $451 million worth of office equipment in 2018. At 603, businesses are, by far, the largest of the victim types. Crimes against individuals come in a very distant second with 82.
A study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) reveals 5 percent of all revenues lost are due to fraud. The median loss per case was $130,000. However, the cost went much higher in 22 percent of the cases where the loss exceeded $1 million.
Retail also deals with the loss of inventory due to theft, error, fraud, or shoplifting to the tune of $46.8 billion per the 2018 National Retail Security Survey.
Construction companies, warehouses, and other businesses using large equipment lose millions of dollars every year due to equipment theft. The cost of theft ranges between $300 million to $1 billion according to the National Equipment Register.
Regardless of the type of business or industry you're in, you most likely have a parking lot or garage. This area is No. 3 on the FBI Crime Data Explorer list of violent crimes by location. The year 2017 saw an almost unfathomable 25,000 incidents in the parking lot or garage.
Unfortunately, most businesses don't recover anything. The numbers clearly show that businesses aren't doing enough crime prevention.
In short, crime isn't biased. It happens to every type of business and industry. Considering a crime can bankrupt a company, you can build your crime prevention by following these six tips.
Introducing yourself and building a relationship with law enforcement can compel them to drive by your property on a regular basis. Usually, a police station assigns officers by geographical location. Meet the police officers who tend to patrol your area. You can go the extra mile by treating them to a favorite beverage or snack, write a thank you note, or both.
The police vehicle is their office. They sometimes pull into a parking lot and work there. Let the police department know they are welcome to work on your property anytime. When they do, check in with them and bring them refreshments. You can also ask them to survey your property and security features for crime prevention improvement suggestions.
Just like you want to get to know the police department, meet your neighbors. If your company is in a business district surrounded by other businesses, it makes good sense to meet with other business owners and managers. Hold a couple of meetings a year to share crime prevention tips. Invite experts to speak at the meetings. Perhaps your contact at the police department can recommend someone who can do this.
Help each other by watching out for your neighbors and contacting them when you see anything suspicious. Set up a private group page to inform each other of problems. If a streetlight goes out, report that to the city and let the other businesses know about it.
Considering employee theft makes up a large proportion of crime, you can do things to reduce employee theft and increase crime prevention. Create policies about entering and exiting the property, employee theft, crime reporting, substance abuse, opening and closing the business, and other business and security processes.
For one, it's standard operating procedure for many businesses to conduct a background check on a new employee. This should be the first step before the employee starts working for you.
All new employees need to receive training on processes and procedures including security-related ones. For example, you may have a process for checking in visitors. Training can also cover common sense things people don't think about.
For example, you have an access control system that allows employees to enter the building. It works well, but you want to educate your employees not to hold the door open for someone coming in behind. That person may not be an employee.
Employees and tenants give you another set of eyes. That's what you'll want to conduct training on a regular basis for seasoned employees. It's all too easy to let your guard down. So, these regular training sessions ensure they continue following security-related processes and procedures.
Encourage them to report suspicious activity or person ASAP and write down any identifying information. Train employees on how to handle different situations, everything from burglary to an active shooting.
Tell employees about the steps you've taken to secure your facility. The more they know, the less likely they will attempt to commit a crime. The more security layers you have, the harder it will be for them to find weak spots.
An inventory management system helps you maintain current business and track your inventory with the potential of having a backup of the information offsite. Add another layer of security by labeling all expensive equipment with an identification number. This is where your law enforcement relationships can come in handy. They can advise you on how to label equipment.
Perimeter security protects the boundaries of your property. Additionally, doing the following can enhance that. First, check to verify your address is visible and easy to find. You want to make it easy for emergency personnel to locate your business. Every second counts.
Landscaping can be a burglar's friend as it provides potential hiding places and hidden entry into the building. Review your landscape design to see if it has a negative impact on security. It also needs regular maintenance to prevent overgrown shrubbery from creating obstructed views and aiding thieves.
Lighting is another factor and one of the most affordable crime prevention options. As you investigate your lighting options, consider the placement as well as the type of lighting. It's not a simple matter of brighter is better. Certain types of light work better than others.
Secure the property. The locks, secured windows, and burglar-resistant glass you use can deter crime. The type of fencing, locks, and glass depends on your business. Study all entrances and exits for potential problems in letting unauthorized people in or out of the building. You may want to investigate fencing to add a barrier to protect the perimeter.
Where traditional security systems are reactive, meaning they wait for a trigger to sound an alarm, a proactive solution like live video monitoring can help deter crimes before they happen. Utilizing strategically placed cameras and video analytics, trained security operators watch for suspicious activity in real time. If they see something unusual, they can activate speaker warnings at the unwanted trespassers and can call police with live reports. Officers often arrive before the criminals leave the property.
At Stealth Monitoring, in addition to remote video surveillance, we offer many added services including:
When you implement these crime prevention tips, you help create a safe and secure environment for your employees, customers, and visitors. For more information about video surveillance and other crime prevention solutions, please contact us.